Dec trade deficit of NZ$347m, but worse because of irregular aircraft sales
29th Jan 09, 12:29pm
New Zealand's trade deficit in December 2008 was NZ$347 million, or 9% of exports, figures released by Statistics New Zealand (Stats NZ) show. This was compared to a surplus of NZ$39 million in December 2007 and a deficit of NZ$588 million in November 2008. However, the trade deficit figure was helped by a NZ$148 million rise in the export category 'aircraft and parts', up to NZ$156 million. With this taken away, the trade deficit would have been NZ$495 million. The average figure for the 'aircraft and parts' category for the first 11 months of 2008 was NZ$25 million, pushed up by three months between NZ$49 million and NZ$68 million. Exports in the month of December 2007 rose 4.5% to NZ$3.85 billion from the year before, Stats NZ said. Imports in the month rose by 15.2% to NZ$4.2 billion. The New Zealand dollar fell 27.5%, compared to the US dollar, between December 2007 and December 2008. Exports would have only risen 0.5% if the sale of large aircraft had not occurred. The December deficit meant that New Zealand's trade deficit for the year of 2008 was NZ$5.615 billion, from NZ$5.312 billion in 2007. In the December quarter of 2008, the deficit totaled NZ$1.929 billion, from NZ$1.363 billion in the December quarter of 2007. Exports of 'milk powder, butter and cheese' in the month of December 2008 fell 11.5% to NZ$946 million from a year ago. 'Meat and edible offal exports rose 27.5% to NZ$520 million and New Zealand's crude oil exports fell 48.5% to NZ$125 million. Aluminium exports fell 15.2% to NZ$112 million. Imports of petroleum in December 2008 fell 16.4% to NZ$644 million from December 2007. 'Mechanical machinery and equipment imports rose 16.4% to NZ$563 million, and 'electrical machinery and equipment' imports rose 24.4% to NZ$369 million. The biggest jump in imports was the 'salt, earths, stone, lime and cement' category, up 466.8% to NZ$83 million in December 2008. By destination, exports to Australia fell 2.1% to NZ$787 million from December 2007, while exports to America rose 36.2% to NZ$496 million. Exports to Japan rose 15.8% to NZ$293 million, and exports to China rose 64.1% to NZ$314 million. Exports to Indonesia fell 28.5% to NZ$74 million. Imports from Australia fell 3.2% to NZ$710 million. New Zealand imports from China rose 39.2% to NZ$609 million, and imports from America rose 32.9% to NZ$410 million. Imports from Japan fell 18.9% to NZ$282 million.